Are instructivist pedagogies more appropriate for learning the sciences in South African low-quintile schools than western literature suggests?

Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), instructivism, e-learning, science learning, South African low quintile schools


Some research suggests that the use of instructivistic teaching strategies may be detrimental to learning, while other research asserts that such strategies can enhance learning under certain conditions. I argue that the conditions present in South African township schools and probably more broadly in schools typical of developing countries, correspond to the conditions for which such strategies are appropriate and may currently be the only strategies implementable on a large scale in the South African township context. I propose two kinds of instructivistic resources which may be effective in improving learning in this context by developing language competence, increasing feedback and reinforcement, and extending teaching and learning time; namely low-language-demand drill-and-practise worksheets and software. I discuss difficulties which could be encountered and caution against a simplistic interpretation of my argument. Discussions such as this are necessary as we search for appropriate and implementable solutions to the crisis of South African township underperformance in education.
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